School History Trip To Philadelphia & Washington
Philadelphia and Washington are two major US cities that are jam-packed with educational experiences to enrich your school history tour.
Independence Hall, birthplace of modern America
Freedom Rising show at the National Constitution Center
Guided visit of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C
Smithsonian American History Museum Washington, D.C
*Please note, entrance fees where applicable are not included in typical price – contact us for more details
The birthplace of American Independence and democracy, it was in this historic area that a group of colonists planned independence from the King of England, which ultimately lead to the creation of the USA. Sites to visit include Independence Hall, the President’s House, The Liberty Bell Center, Carpenter’s Hall. The Independence Visitor Center is a gateway to the Historic Park.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Independence Hall is seen as the birthplace of America. See the Assembly Room where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were both signed. It was here in the Courtroom of Pennsylvania Supreme Court that militiamen tore down King George III’s coat of arms in an act of defiance.
See the Liberty Bell, formerly housed in the Pennsylvania statehouse (Independence Hall) whose inscription came to be an extraordinary symbol of freedom. “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof (Leviticus, 25:10)” Historic documents, a video presentation and graphic images in the Liberty Bell Center explore the facts and myths around the bell.
Interactive exhibits explore the history of this important and influential document, the four most powerful pages in America’s history. One of the rare original public copies of the Constitution is on display. The multi-media live performance “Freedom Rising” in the Kimmel theatre is a dramatic depiction of events bringing history to life for students.
Explore the city of Philadelphia on an open-top double decker bus, and take in landmarks including Liberty Bell, Philadelphia City Hall, Elfreth’s Alley, The Love Sculpture, Betsy Ross House, Independence Seaport Museum, Boathouse Row, Museum of Art, and many more. Hop on or hop off at any of the 27 locations. A guide will give historical background, facts and stories about the city and its people.
The impressive Philadelphia City Hall, completed in 1908, is considered to be at the centre of the historic city. A statue of the founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn stands proudly on top of the tower. The exterior is richly decorated with sculptures representing the seasons and continents and there are lavish interiors.
Located on the 57th floor of One Liberty Observation Deck is Philadelphia’s first high-rise attraction with 360 degree views. Enjoy panoramic bird’s-eye views of the city and beyond. The attraction also offers Philadelphia-focused listening stations and six multi-lingual touch screens that allow visitors to zoom in on a single point hundreds of feet below.
This bustling, colourful indoor food market is one of the oldest in the USA dating from 1892.The market has a great selection of fresh produce, cheeses, baked goods, confectionary, flowers, crafts and jewellery, and makes a great lunch stop with a seating area and a wide variety of different takeaway foods including the famous Philly cheesesteak.
The Union victory at The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War. It was also the war’s bloodiest battle with 51,000 casualties. Students can tour the battlefield and explore the significant sites of this dramatic event. There’s also a museum and visitor centre to gain background knowledge on the Civil War, and free ranger-guided programmes.
Meeting place of The Senate and the House of Representatives, The Capitol is among the most architecturally impressive and symbolically important buildings in the world. Guided tours here begin with a short film and include stops at the Rotunda and National Statuary Hall. The Exhibition Hall displays documents, artifacts, and interactive exhibits.
Students can visit the courtroom, with its velvet drapes and marble pillars, where the nine court justices hear some of the 6,500 cases submitted to the Supreme Court each year. The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with nearly 128 million items, including historically significant manuscripts on around 530 miles of bookshelves.
The National Archives in DC provides students with a unique opportunity to access the original documents that founded American democracy in 1774. View the US Government’s Charter of Freedom, the US Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence.
Visit some of the monuments that honour those who helped shape the US nation. The Washington Monument is a towering 555-feet high marble obelisk, The Lincoln Memorial is a symbol of freedom, the Martin Luther King Jnr Monument promotes love and tolerance, while monuments to the Vietnam War, the Korean War, World War II commemorate those that died.
The Smithsonian Institution – the world’s largest museum and research complex – includes 19 museums and galleries and a zoo. It’s dubbed ‘the nation’s attic’ for its eclectic holdings of 137m items. Take a museum tour or book activities from elephant baths at the zoo to tarantula feedings at Natural History or scavenger hunts at American Art.
Students can take a tour through the history of the colorful US nation at the National Museum of American History. The museum holds more than three million artefacts – all true national treasures. They include the original Star-Spangled Banner, Abraham Lincoln’s top hat, Dizzy Gillespie’s angled trumpet and Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz.
Part of the Smithsonian Institution, this museum in Washington DC is one of three dedicated to the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of the Native Americans of the Western Hemisphere. The museum’s sweeping, limestone-clad architecture, its indigenous landscaping, and its exhibitions give students the sense and spirit of Native America.
This military cemetery was established during the Civil War, and since then deceased veterans of America’s conflicts have been buried here, and their white headstones stretch out over 624 acres or rolling hills. A tour here can bring the military history of the United States to life. Don’t miss the elaborate Changing of the Guard Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The plantation home of the first President of the United States, George Washington, lies just 16 miles south of Washington DC and is perfect for a day trip. Students can visit the Mansion, Washington’s Tomb, the plantation and estate, which includes a 4-acre demonstration farm.
Tip: Head to The Ford Orientation Center for exhibitions on George Washington’s life.
Featuring over 36,000 artefacts, the museum is dedicated to documenting African American life, history, and culture. Students will have access to a range of interactive exhibitions, explore what it means to be American, and understand how American values are reflected in African American culture.
A great introduction to the city, the indoor and outdoor viewing platforms afford 360 degree views across DC and Virginia including the National Mall, The Pentagon and Arlington Cemetery. Interactive touch screens give information about American History and a Holographic display allows historical figures to tell their stories. Educational material is available.
What groups like:
Why groups like it:
Why groups like it:
- Gain a deeper understanding of American history and politics and the links to European history
- Understand the development of democracy in the US and the principles of the Constitution
- Observe in action the processes that shape political life in the US
- Compare political processes in Washington with those in the UK
- See the monuments to historical figures and events and the museums dedicated to events that helped shape American political culture
Students will have had an opportunity to:
- Understand the diverse experiences and ideas, beliefs and attitudes that have shaped the nation and the modern world
- See the sites of important events and decisions in US history
- Understand what influences decision-makers
- Develop a knowledge of American History and political history
Help with visiting Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. with students
Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. both have excellent public transport systems for conveniently getting round the city.
We can arrange coaches if you wish to tour the city sites in the comfort of your own coach or tickets for the Hop on Hop Off bus tour.
With so much to see and do in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. we will work with you to plan your tour and pre-book all your excursions and activities. Entrance fees for many visits can be pre-paid before travel.
We can book half or full day guides to enhance your experience for walking tours or coach tours.
We can arrange breakfast in your hotel (if available) or in a local café. Evening meals can be pre-booked at restaurants or themed restaurants such as The Hard Rock Café in both Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.